Clinical Research|Articles in Press

The Association of Psychiatric Comorbidities With Short-Term and Long-Term Outcomes Following Spinal Cord Stimulator Placement

Published:January 29, 2023DOI:



      Outcomes after spinal cord stimulator (SCS) placement are affected by psychologic comorbidities. It is part of routine practice to do psychologic assessments prior to SCS trials to assess for the presence of maladaptive behavioral patterns. However, few studies have sought to quantify the effect of psychiatric comorbidities on complications, reoperation, and readmission rates. The purpose of this study was to assess the association of psychiatric comorbidities with postprocedural outcomes after SCS implantation.

      Materials and Methods

      Inclusion criteria included SCS placement between 2015 and 2020 (percutaneous approach or an open laminectomy-based approach) using Healthcare Corporation of America National Database. Data on psychiatric comorbidities present at the time of SCS implantation surgery were collected. Outcomes of interest included complication rates (defined as lead migration, fracture, malfunction, battery failure, postoperative pain, infection, dural puncture, or neurological injury), reoperation rates (defined as either revision or explant [ie, removal]), and readmission rates within 30-day and 1-year time after SCS implantation. We measured the association between psychiatric comorbidities and outcomes using multivariable regression and reported odds ratio (OR) and respective 95% confidence intervals.


      A total of 12,751 cases were included. The most common psychiatric comorbidities were major depressive disorder (16.1%) and anxiety disorder (13.4%). In unadjusted univariate analysis, patients with any psychiatric comorbidity had heightened rates of any complication (27.1% vs 19.4%), infection (5.9% vs 1.9%), lead displacement (2.2% vs 1.3%), surgical pain (2.1% vs 1.2%), explant (14.7% vs 8.8%), and readmission rates at one year (54.2% vs 33.8%) (all p < 0.001). In multivariable logistic regression, with each additional psychiatric comorbidity, a patient had increased odds of experiencing any complication (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.36–1.57, p < 0.001), requiring a reoperation (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.37–1.6, p < 0.001), and requiring readmission (OR = 1.7, 99% CI = 1.6–1.8, p < 0.001).


      The presence of psychiatric comorbidities was found to be associated with postoperative complication rates, reoperation, and readmission rates after SCS placement. Furthermore, each consecutive increase in psychiatric comorbidity burden was associated with increased odds of complications, reoperation, and readmission. Future studies might consider examining the role of presurgical mental health screening (ie, patient selection, psychologic testing) and treatment in optimizing outcomes for patients with psychiatric comorbidities.


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